Seth Ciferri has been a heavy hitter in the tattoo and tattoo machine building business for years. A personal favorite of mine, and an absolutely inspiring artist and craftsman, he has constantly set the bar high for tattoo artists and machine builders both with his technically precise and high quality work that stands the test of time. Seth is not only talented but an extremely interesting guy with a lot to say. Marching to the beat of his own drum, he also is a thoughtful man with an unbreakable dedication to his children. Check out Seth Ciferri, Rad Dad.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
I’m a male human, based in Portland Oregon, named Seth Ciferri. My daughter, Clover, will be 8 in may, and my son Maxwell will be 11 in June. Career-wise i fluctuate between artist, fabricator, maker, tattooer, and fledgeling writer. I started tattooing with a formal apprenticeship in 1993, and 21 years later I have somehow managed to continue doing what I love, for the majority of my life. I’m not certain I’ve ever found balance with work and my kids, but have found that it’s a constant juggling act, trying to give each the attention needed, while not running myself too ragged. I encourage Max and Clover to help me in the workshop more as they get older, to enable them to better understand what I’m doing while I’m not at home.
The three of us share an enthusiasm for motorcycles, so as often as possible, we can be found at Tillamook state forest riding dirt bikes and creating laundry nightmares.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
It means being involved as a parent, and stepping up your game. we’re given a huge responsibility in creating good people; setting examples, and being worthy of imitation. I grew up without a father, and I think i may tend to overcompensate, but I just want my kids to have it easier than I did. I want to be present.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
Becoming a father has taught me what love means. The concept of unconditional love. It’s also forced me to grow up, and be accountable. Priorities shift, responsibilities start to become more clear, and suddenly you recognize what’s truly important.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
Watching my kids learn, and figure things out. The “ah hah” moments which happen on an almost daily basis are incredibly rewarding. Knowing I’m helping to raise good people who are kind, considerate, and caring to both those around them, and to themselves.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
We lived in Spain for about 8 months, roughly 45 kilometers from Madrid, in a small village called “nuevo baztan”. Imagine driving an hour from any somewhat hip, and interesting metropolitan area, say Austin, or Portland, and you will find a much different social climate than you would in the city. This was no different. We were the weirdo, outsider, tattooed Americans with two small quasi-Asian kids. Max was around four and a half, and the only people we knew in the town, a family of Argentinians, with three small children, insisted we needed to get him into school as soon as possible, so as to assimilate with Spanish culture, especially if we planned to stay.
On max’s first (and only) day of class, I received a relayed phone call in broken English, from a neighbor of the school. “your son. accident. hurry. accident.” I raced to the school, in a panicked rush, expecting the worst. When i arrived at the school, i found Maxwell sitting at a desk, drawing. i asked him what happened. Apparently not one person in the school, except for my son, spoke any English, so he was unable to ask where the bathroom was, and ended up peeing in his pants. He told me the teacher made a few of the kids clean up the pee, which seems like it would possibly be THE most awkward experience of a young child’s life at that point, both for Max, and the other kids. I asked max if he was ok, and he simply replied. “well, my pants are dark, so you really can’t see the pee.” We left without talking-to anyone, and never went back to that school.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Be present. You’ll never wish you worked more, or that you spent more time away from home. eventually they won’t think you’re so cool, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Get in touch with Seth through his website here: http://sethciferri.com/
He will also be doing monthly tattoo guest spots at Saved Tattoo, in Brooklyn, will be tattooing at the London tattoo convention this coming September, and the San Francisco convention in October.